Ladies and gentlemen, we have a name. We are living through “The Great Recession”. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, used the term to describe our current angst on a trip to Africa this week. He may not have been the first to use it — we have found other citations, including JPMorgan — but the guessing here is that it may stick with him because of his role.
It’s a pretty neat moniker, actually. It resonates, of course, with “Great Depression” but without the soup lines and Hoovervilles. At the same time, it differentiates between the severe contraction now under way and run-of-the-mill economic misery. It also has the snappiness that media folks like — hence this post.
The Bretton Woods duo of IMF and World Bank have been underlining how bad things are. Strauss-Kahn, for example, tells Reuters that delays in bank restructuring could mean economic recovery is not on the cards even in 2010 (which sounds a long way off, but is only next year). Then comes Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, who opines to Britain’s Daily Mail that global growth will probably fall about 1 to 2 percent this year.
Not that any of this is particularly surprising to economists. Reuters polled around 250 of them in the past week or so and found expectations of a 1.4 percent contraction in the U.S. economy this year, a 2.6 percent one in the euro zone and a 4.0 percent one in Japan over its next fiscal year.
So “Great Recession” it appears to be. Unless you think otherwise, in which case, suggestions below, please.